A firefighter taking a patient's blood pressure

First week of October sees five suspected overdose deaths in Vancouver

October 12 2018 –

In the first week of October, five people lost their lives to a suspected overdose in Vancouver, as the crisis continues to devastate lives across the city. On average, 10 calls per day were made to VFRS reporting a suspected overdose - 75 in total between October 1 and October 7.

The City is committed to:

  • Addressing the crisis
  • Working with partners to implement life-saving efforts including harm reduction services
  • Funding programs to reduce stigma
  • Increasing access to culturally-informed health and treatment services

As part of life transitions with treatment, we recognize the impact that employment and meaningful activity can have as a solution for long-term recovery.

Supporting social enterprises

The City supports the work of social enterprises such as:

  • Bladerunners, which helps to transition youth at-risk into construction and trades
  • EMBERS, which placed over 1,900 residents with barriers on construction and other job sites in 2017 and paid out over $5.97 million dollars in wages

Through Vancouver's recently approved Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) policy, partnerships between social enterprise organizations like these and the development sector will be strengthened and expanded.

See what else the City is doing to respond to the overdose crisis.


Toxicology reports on the most recent deaths are not yet complete, and final overdose death numbers need to be confirmed by the BC Coroners Service.

Read the BC Coroners Services' report on Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC, January 1, 2008 to August 31, 2018.